Eurasian treecreeper

Certhia familiaris

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The Eurasian or common treecreeper, which reaches a maximum body length of 13 cm is about the size of a blue tit and is one of the smallest birds in Germany. Extremely nimble and quick, one could almost mistake it for a mouse as it climbs and creeps up trees in search of insects, spiders and their larvae. It can climb distances of up to 3 km. In contrast to nuthatches, the Eurasian treecreeper climbs upwards. Its plumage is camouflaged, resembling the bark of the tree making it hard to spot. The belly is white and the upper feathers brown with cream to ochre colouring and black spots, while the crown is brightly spotted in contrast. A white stripe circumscribes the upper side of the eye, the bill is thin with a slight upward curve. On the end of its hind toe is a long talon. The tail feathers are a uniform dark colour and sharply pointed at the end. They are also stiff, which has the effect of steadying the Eurasian treecreeper during climbing. A light brown to cream-coloured band stretches horizontally across the wings. Both sexes look the same (monomorphism). Even experienced bird enthusiasts confuse the Eurasian treecreeper with the short-toed woodpecker, as they share very similar-looking variations in plumage. The more reliable way to differentiate them is by their call. The somewhat larger and heavier female lays a clutch of 5 to 8 eggs in a nest made of fine brushwood, leaves, moss, plant parts, hair and feathers. The nests are built into tree crevices, stacks of logs, cracks in walls, woodpecker holes and bird boxes. After 14 days, the altricial chicks hatch and, after another 14 days, they leave the nest, although the parent bird continues to care for them. Up to two broods are possible per annum. The Eurasian treecreeper inhabits conifer forests, deciduous and mixed woodland all year round, especially where established and dense forestation is present. Its habitat ranges from West Europe through Asia to Japan.

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